Over the last few years we’ve grown accustomed to:
- click to give
- searching for things on the Internet and having some of the revenue we generate for the search engines redirected to a nonprofit
- supporting prostate research, diabetes research, or cancer services when we checkout at the grocery store
Heck, we’ll even turn loose our inner word nerds to support the World Food Programme.
But how do you know which site to use for your $50 gift?
- If you want to give globally you can try GlobalGiving or give2asia.
- Want to support microfinance? Try MicroPlace or Kiva.
- Local interests in the USA? NetworkForGood, Case Foundation, or the Catalogue for Philanthropy.
- Public schools and teachers matter to you? Use DonorsChoose.
- Want to put every one of your dollars to work as both a gift and an investment? Try RSF Social Finance or Calvert Giving Fund.
We need a one-stop directory of these sites. Just as foundations of all kinds began organizing themselves a few decades back, it is time these online marketplaces do the same, to enhance public awareness, regulatory input, joint research, and shared interests in developments regarding technological/infrastructure/charitable law.
The “disintermediation” that the Internet promised way back in the 20th century is now an assumed part of the philanthropic landscape. I predict it will soon be building its own industry supports (infrastructure).
One thing I noticed as I compiled the bullets above is the absence of two key sectors—the arts and the environment. Scanning my memory bank, I came up blank on online giving sites/communities/intermediaries focused broadly on environmental or arts/cultural giving. Help me out; send me the sites I’m missing. Or better yet, start the directory and build the new infrastructure.
Full disclosure: I’ve worked with or know individuals involved in running the sites listed above. I’ve used some of these services but am not formally affiliated with any of them at the moment.
Lucy Bernholz is the Founder and President of Blueprint Research & Design, Inc, a strategy consulting firm that helps philanthropic individuals and institutions achieve their missions. She is the publisher of Philanthropy2173, an award-winning blog about the business of giving, and serves as executive producer of The Giving Channel on Fora.tv.